“The branch came out of nowhere!” A panicked sob echoed through the phone. “I called 911, but no one answered. Please help.”
Angela’s eyes brimmed with tears. “Are you in a safe place?”
Nick, her partner, sat stiffly on the opposite side of the booth, listening intently as he pulled out his phone to dial the sheriff.
There was a shuttering intake of breath. “No,” the woman’s voice crackled through the speakers. “The rain won’t stop. It’s dark and I can’t see. I have no idea if there’s water, and I’m too afraid to get out.”
“Where are you?” Angela asked to distract the caller.
“Brittany and Pine.”
Angela’s breath caught in her throat. That wasn’t far from her mom’s house. On the other side of the desk, Nick quickly dialed.
“Listen, ma’am, we’re calling the sheriff,” Angela said. “but you need to stay calm. I’m going to transfer you to our sound man, Pete. He’ll stay on with you until help arrives, ok?”
“Alright,” the woman said, breathing quickly. “Thank you.”
“Take care,” Angela said. She switched the call off the radio. In the sound booth, Pete gave a thumbs up as the call came through.
“We’ll be back in a few minutes, ladies and gentlemen.” Angela signed off. “This has been Nick and Angel, and we’re glad you’re here.”
Music filled Angela’s headphones, and she pulled hers off with a sigh. Across the desk, Nick shook his head; the phone had reached voicemail. Angela let out another sigh. “She’s not answering.”
“Well, let’s just keep calling our contacts,” replied Nick. “I’ll take the EMTs if you’ll keep on with the police.”
“Actually,” replied Angela, suddenly desperate to hear her children’s voices as the seriousness of the situation dawned on her, “I need to check in with my mom. She lives on Brittany, and she’s got my kids.”
Nick nodded. “Do what you have to do.”
Angela quickly called her mom and listened as it rang. And rang. And rang. Finally, she was rerouted to voicemail.
“Hi Mom, just checking that you made it to the shelter ok. Call me back please.” Angela hung up, every bad scenario running through her mind. What if they had been hit by a branch like the caller? Or what if they hadn’t been able to get out of her mom’s house?
She shook her head; she was being paranoid. They were safe. It was fine. The shelters were noisy placesore than likely her mom hadn’t even heard the phone ring. She pulled the contacts towards her and started dialing numbers.
A few minutes later, Nick let out a huff of air and leaned back in his chair, obviously frustrated.
“Not getting through?” Angela asked as the phone in her ear gave off the familiar sound of voicemail.
“Yeah, no one is answering.” Nick said.
Suddenly, the door to the studio opened and Pete walked in, audible sounds of sobbing coming from the phone in his hands. “Any news?” he asked.
“Still trying, Pete,” Nick answered, sitting up and dialing another number, but, a moment later, he shook his head, placing his phone back on the table. “That was the last of the first responders in our contacts.”
Suddenly, the lights flickered and then went out.
“Don’t worry, we have generators.” Pete said, handing the phone to Angela. “I’ll go check them out.”
Angela watched him go as she put the phone to her ear. The woman was still sobbing. “Hey, hey, tell me what’s going on.” Angela said, keeping her voice even and calm.
“Water is getting into my car,” the woman answered. “I thought you were calling for help!”
“We are, but, for the minute, it’s just you and me.” Angela took a seat in a chair. “You say your car is filling up with water?”
“Yes,” the woman gasped.
“Listen to me,” Angela instructed. “The last place you need to be is in a water-filled car.”
There was a sniffle. “Ok, but do you mean I have to get out?”
“What if I get swept away?” The woman’s voice rose an octave.
“You have a better shot outside than in your car.” Angela replied.
There was more sniffling, and then Angela heard the car door opening. “Alright, I’m outside,” the woman said.
“Now you need to find higher ground.” As Angela said it, the lights came back on. She closed her eyes. “Is there any place that you can climb?”
“It’s very dark, but I know I’m close to houses.”
“Alright, head towards them. Put your phone on speaker and turn your flashlight on. The roads may be damaged so watch your step.”
There was a click, and then Angela’s ear filled with the sound of falling rain. For several minutes she strained to hear heavy breaths and footsteps over the storm. Finally, the woman spoke again. “How much longer until someone comes?”
“I’m not sure, but you’re doing a great job rescuing yourself right now. Why don’t you just focus on getting to those houses?”
“Ok,” the woman replied shakily. “I think I’m almost-”
The line went dead.
“Ma’am!” Angela shouted into the phone. “Ma’am!”
“What happened?” Nick asked, jumping from his chair.
Angela ignored him, her hands shaking as she called the number again. She was taken straight to voice mail.
“What happened?” Nick asked again.
Tears sprung from Angela’s eyes. “I lost the call.” She put her head in her hands. “She was fine and then she wasn’t there.” She lifted her head. “What if she’s dead?” The words caught in her throat as a sob.
“Hold on,” Nick pulled on his headphones and motioned for her to do the same.
Wiping her eyes, she obeyed. The music ebbed and then they were on. “We’re back, ladies and gentlemen, but we find ourselves in an emergency.” Nick said hastily. “We don’t have a lot of time, but there is a woman who crashed her car, and couldn’t get help. We just lost the call.” Nick glanced Angela’s way, signaling her to jump in.
“If you live in the area by Britany and Pines, and you are still there, please help this woman.” Angela begged, suppressing another sob.
“Take care of yourselves first. We don’t want anyone getting hurt. Look outside a window, or if you have a boat…” Nick sighed. “We’re just looking for a few good Samaritans to help.”
“Please,” Angela begged. She hoped people would help. She hoped they could help. She hoped that the woman was still alive, that her mom and kids had made it to safety.
But she didn’t know.